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Memories & Candles

“Dr. Vandiver (Van) was the Chair of my doctoral dissertation committee at the University of Florida, which I attended from 1964-67. I was one of his...Read More »
1 of 17 | Posted by: Dr. Eric A. Wagner - Gainesville, FL

“I met Uncle Van after I met his niece, Laura. He always treated me as a family member.He was my FRIEND. I will miss him. ”
2 of 17 | Posted by: Ed Terrell - Katy, TX

“I met the Vandiver family when I visited Marylee along with my cat Robbi. I learned so much from a beautifully loving and caring husband and...Read More »
3 of 17 | Posted by: Tricia Sample - Newberry, FL

“I Love You Uncle Van! I will miss you dearly. ”
4 of 17 | Posted by: Laura M. Terrell - Katy, TX

“I am one of Annis Feemster Clayton's granddaughters. I remember your father and mother from our trip to Florida for Aunt Madge's birthday in 1969!...Read More »
5 of 17 | Posted by: Jane Mitchell Leech - Ridgeland, MS

“Van was my MA and PhD chair. He was always wonderful to work with. I also have fond memories of the class I had with him. i thought so highly of...Read More »
6 of 17 | Posted by: Richard Ball - Big Rapids, MI

“As I reflect on my dear uncle, many random memories rush over me. I recall always feeling so personally connected to him because we share a middle...Read More »
7 of 17 | Posted by: Richard Sloan Angulo - San Diego, CA

“Van was already well established when I joined the Sociology Department at the University of Florida in the spring of 1969. His warm and cordial...Read More »
8 of 17 | Posted by: George J. Warheit - Lady Lake, FL

“Dr. Van will be missed by all. Even though he was with Joseph and very well taken care of, he was always in my heart. Sad I was too slow sending his...Read More »
9 of 17 | Posted by: Sheran Flowers - Gainesville, FL

“Our "Uncle Van" was an inspiration to all of us including our kids Steve, Andy and Nikki. Although he never called them by their "nick" names but...Read More »
10 of 17 | Posted by: Sandy Angulo - Sugar Land, TX

“One addition to Bill Marsiglio's story: that San Francisco mugger never got a nickel. But I am sure that if the gentleman had politely requested...Read More »
11 of 17 | Posted by: Michael Radelet - Boulder, CO

“Margaret and Elizabeth, my love to you both. I will share this with Doug and I know he will have me post a special memory of your dad. We both...Read More »
12 of 17 | Posted by: Linda McCray - Ocala,, FL

“My prayers, love and sympathy at the time of this great loss. ”
13 of 17 | Posted by: Sister Dorothea Murphy, rsm - FL

“I came to UF right out of grad school at 27 in 1978, and my office was at the opposite end of the hall from Van's "cave" in Sociology. Even though I...Read More »
14 of 17 | Posted by: Albert Matheny - Gainesville, FL

“At the time William writes about , Van was walking 12 miles a day. This included 4 miles from his home to the office, where he cleaned up, taught, 4 ...Read More »
15 of 17 | Posted by: Margaret Vandiver Buchorn - TX

“Although I did not know Van all that well, he struck me as an exceptionally kind and gentle man. Unless, of course, you were a mugger in San Fran...Read More »
16 of 17 | Posted by: William Marsiglio - Gainesville, FL

“The staff of Dunbar Funeral Home extends our deepest sympathies to the Vandiver family. ”
17 of 17 | Posted by: Greg Dunbar - Columbia, SC

COLUMBIA - Known by family and friends as Van, Joseph S. Vandiver passed away on March 12, 2012, at his home, just weeks before his 93rd birthday. He was born on March 31, 1919 in Moorhead, Mississippi to Joseph Sloan Vandiver, Sr., and Laura Blanche Feemster Vandiver, both dedicated educators. His mother was an elementary school teacher and his father created the first Junior College in the South, serving as State Superintendent of Education from 1936-1945.
Achieving the Army rank of TEC 4, Vandiver proudly served his country in the WWII campaigns in Algeria-French Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa, and Rome Arno and the North Apennines in Italy. Back from the war, he continued his education, receiving his Ph.D. in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 1948. After teaching at LSU, Vanderbilt, and Oklahoma State University, he joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Florida in 1962. Dr. Vandiver's area of specialization was demography, but he was especially dedicated to teaching and served for many years as the department's graduate coordinator. He retired from the University of Florida in 1989 but continued to teach part-time through the Fall of 1995. In 1996, his colleagues in the Sociology Department honored him by establishing the "J.S. Vandiver Teaching Assistant of the Year Award," which is given to a graduate student to recognize outstanding instructional performance. Throughout his life, he championed human rights and his passionate dedication to social justice was a source of inspiration to generations of his students, who looked to him as a model for their lives as citizens no less than for their intellectual development.
Dr. Vandiver was preceded in death by his wife, Marylee Mason Vandiver. He is survived by his daughters (both College educators), Margaret Vandiver of Memphis and Elizabeth Vandiver of Walla Walla, Washington; his sister, Margaret Vandiver Buchorn (Douglas) of Houston, Texas; his nephews, David Angulo, Richard Angulo, and Steve Angulo (Sandy); his niece, Laura Terrell (Ed); several great-nieces and nephews; many other friends, and his dear friend, Joseph Wider of Columbia.
A graveside service will be held in Forest Meadows Cemetery (Central), 4100 N.W. 39th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida, at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2012. For his family and friends in Columbia, there will be a Celebration of His Life on his birthday, March 31, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at his home, 224 Williams Street, Columbia. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Doctors Without Borders (

Come one, come all and celebrate Van's life with esprit! Had he lived just two more weeks, he would have been 93. His intellect was bright and clear - His love of beer was hearty! He wouldn't care for a solemn wake so let's throw him a great party! A Celebration of Van's life (his 93rd birthday party) will be on Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 7:00 until ?? at 224 Williams Street, Columbia, SC 29201. Don't worry about dinner or drink.... Delta man Van's favorite Gumbo and beer will be served with many other delicacies and beverages. We're so committed to having a good time we hired "Swervin' Irvin" to DJ.